Rock ’n’ roll truckin’

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Updated May 7, 2013

My brother and I grew up loving rock music, and last week we celebrated his birthday by going to see the Black Keys in concert on my dime. I’ve never really needed an excuse to go to a great show, but my brother’s birthday was as good a reason as any, and the Keys blew the proverbial roof off the house and made the trip worth every penny and minute spent on the road getting there.

While we were walking to the front gate of the arena, I couldn’t help but notice the line of trucks parked behind the building. Me being a trucking journalist, the wheels in my mind immediately started spinning about how to turn this into a blog post. Granted, those wheels ceased to spin for about three hours when the opening act, the Flaming Lips, hit the stage. (This was one of the more offbeat musical concert pairings I’ve ever witnessed, but this isn’t an entertainment column, so I’ll save that train of thought for a more appropriate venue.)

But after the final wails of Dan Auerbach’s extremely loud guitar had faded into the night and we were leaving, I saw the trucks again and starting wondering if being a driver for a music tour is all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, you get to hang out backstage with rockers and roadies and hear some great jams every night, but after a few shows of the same songs over and over again, does it turn into as much of a job as, say, hauling goods cross-country? Do drivers in these situations hang out backstage or just head over to the restaurant across the street to kill a couple of hours? Or just insert their favorite pair of earplugs and try to grab some shuteye?

I was wondering if anyone has any informed insight of comment on what makes for a particularly fun trucking job. Are there hauls or part-time assignments that are more enjoyable than others that make other truckers green with envy? Or does full-time short-haul work that gets you home most nights more preferable than, say, driving all night to the next arena in the next state over? I’d be curious to find out what you experts have to say on the subject.