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Tours Gone Wild: Backstage Tales

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Jenny Lewis
Singer-Songwriter
”In 2008 I played Austin City Limits. I look over and Bill Murray is standing there watching us. That was the night of the Obama-McCain presidential debate, and everyone in my band took mushrooms that night except for me. The plan was to watch the debate on mushrooms, and me, I’m sort of tapped out on psychedelics. So everyone disappeared, and I found myself in a golf cart with Bill Murray. We went out into the festival, and Bill bought all these barbecue sandwiches. There was a stand in the middle of the festival, and he bought every last one. So I rolled up to the tour bus with Bill Murray and a ton of barbecue sandwiches, and I think they probably thought they were hallucinating. And then we watched the debate, and eventually Bill Murray just disappeared into the ether. He’s like Santa, in a way.”

Patrick Stump
Frontman, Fall Out Boy
”For our Infinity on High tour, we’d play the album intro of Jay Z talking, and when he says, ‘Fall Out Boy!’ we shoot out of the floor. It’s this big, dramatic moment with pyro and lights and craziness. There were hydraulic lifts, and they were terrifying. So I found myself on many occasions hearing the countdown in my head, going, ‘Okay, three, two, oh, s—, I didn’t tie my shoe —’ POW! You’re out there. We were in Arizona in the desert, and it really cooled off quickly at night. The explosions go, and then it just stopped. The hydraulic fluid froze. So we had to climb out of the ground like the zombies from ‘Thriller.’ After all this smoke and fire, of course. It was a very Spinal Tap moment.”

David Macklovitch
Singer-Guitarist, Chromeo
”One time, we played a very strange festival in the Netherlands. But not in Amsterdam — it was kind of an Off Broadway Netherlands town. Off-brand. They had us play in front of a lake. People were on the side, but no one was in front. So really, we were just playing for a lake. It got so boring that we were like, ‘All right, we’ll give 50 euros to whoever jumps in the lake.’ So all these people started jumping in — and a few of them swam to us to claim their money! [Bandmate P-Thugg] and I together only had, like, 80 euros on us. So I still owe a couple of guys in that rando city in the Netherlands.”

Este Haim
Bassist, Haim
”I don’t think it’s a secret that Florence [of Florence + the Machine] and I love crowd-surfing. So to celebrate the last song right before the encore recently, we just did it. Unfortunately, we picked the section of the crowd where it was, like, all 12-year-old girls. We basically crushed a bunch of little elementary-school girls. I apologize if anyone got hurt. All I know is if I was a 12-year-old and I came home with a black eye, my mom would never let me go to another show again.”

Riff Raff
Rapper
”I have a puppy, his name is Jody Husky. He’s blue. He’s the most majestic dog on earth right now, an iconic dog. He comes out at my shows on tour. He runs on cheeseburgers and apple juice. The audience wants to pet him, but they ain’t allowed to touch him. You want an autograph? He’ll charge you 50 bucks.”

Caleb Followill
Frontman, Kings of Leon
”We were on the Lollapalooza tour back in 2003, and we were so green that no one really knew our music. So behind us on stage would be all of these bands, and in front of us would be 15 people rolling their eyes. There was this one band, and I’m not going to name any names, but they were really cocky towards us. Everything they would say was very backhanded, and they were always bragging about their success. We got fed up, so we invited their guitar player on our bus, knowing that he had to go on stage in about a half hour. I was like, ‘Hey, man, let me pour you a drink.’ He drank it, and I was like, ‘One more for the road!’ And I overdosed him once again. He barely got through the set — it was an awful night for the guy. Now looking back, part of me feels bad, but we won that battle. You be a dick and I’m gonna embarrass you in front of a lot of people! I don’t think they’re still a band now, but if I ever see him, I don’t think he’ll be saying anything to me.”

Austin Brown
Guitarist, Parquet Courts
We were in New Zealand doing the Laneway Music Festival, and we were walking over to that part of the festival to check out Cat Power. But inside of the festival, there’s this silo. A guy hopped around the corner and was like, ‘You can go up to the top if you want!’ I guess we’re figuring we’re in another country, so basically nothing is illegal. So we snuck up by climbing through the fire escape, and there was an amazing view. But then I get bored and I go down to get another beer, and I run into a police officer coming up, all out of breath. He says, ‘What are you doing up here?’ I’m like, ‘The views are amazing! Have you seen them?’ He flips out, and as soon as we get down there, there’s a whole team of police officers waiting. I guess that guy drew the short straw and had to come up and get me. They kept asking, ‘Are you famous? Is that why you thought it was okay?’ They just let us go with a warning. It’s funny, I’d never talk to New York cops like that — I wouldn’t even dream of it. But they have that New Zealand accent, so they seem so friendly! Also, they don’t have guns.”

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