The Mental Health Issues of Touring - Josh Balz | Project Freelance


In this episode, I "sit down" (skype) with Josh Balz, a 28 year old entrepreneur. He is the creator and owner of the two Strange & Unusual Oddities Parlors in Pensylvania; one located in Philadelphia and the other in Kingston.

He is mostly known for his time in the band, Motionless in White, as a keyboardist. Ironically, Josh has no professional training in classical piano in any way, which he's currently studying. I met Josh in 2011 at Vans Warped Tour 2011, where I was invited to join the band on stage to join them in singing/screaming in their song Abigail, which I had covered on Youtube, which you can see here:

As a fan first, I had so many questions to ask Balz about his time on tour. He grew up on the road, living on broke, and loved every second of it. However, touring for long periods of time puts a lot of mental strain on the artists and crew. I truly experienced this in 2017, during my time on the incredible Vans Warped Tour.

Okay, listen, let me tell you something about Vans Warped Tour. If you have the opportunity to go on the tour this last year, take it. No excuses. It will be the most humbling and eye opening experience you will ever have in your life.

Okay, so now, the main focus of this podcast:

Now, the following is not meant to persuade you either way about living the #tourlife; I don't make these episodes to tell you how shitty it is to tour or tell you not to go on tour, because of what I'm going to say next

paragraph; It is simply a reality of tour that I believe should be discussed more so that we can help each other and build each other up.

Josh puts it in a haunting, heart-breaking, and extremely realistic way, by opening up about the end of the tour day, when you literally climb or roll into your coffin sized bunk bed, which is terrifying.

There are two reasons crew and artists describe, or subconsciously compare these bunks to coffins.

Firstly, the tight quarters inside the bunks, which are often stacked three high, can be extremely anxiety inducing, especially for larger people. I know a few people who choose to sleep in the loud as fuck front lounge on the benches. I toured with someone a few years back who actually had a bunk collapse on him in the middle of the night, trapping him inside, terrified.

This leads me to reason two for the use of the coffin term. As gut wrenching as it is, that tiny sleeping space could literally be your coffin. You know that paranoid feeling you get at night when you lay in bed and finally get comfortabe, that you forgot to lock your door and a scary monster, bad guy, or Sully from Monsters Inc is going to walk into your house and murder you in your sleep. Imagine that, but laying in bed and suddenly realising that you're in a moving bus at night, in the middle of nowhere, and you have to trust your driver with your life.

Side note:

It is rumoured that Motionless in White's singer, Chris "Motionless" Cerulli, slept "suicide style," which is tour jargon for sleeping with your head toward the front of the bus. This romour was squashed, by the way. I ask Balz specifically about the speculation in this episode if you're interested about that.

If you want to hear how to earn a living as an artist and travel the world, or if you're curious about how it really is to live life on the road, check this episode out.

Thank you so much for your time and crazy stories, Balz.

Get Socialistic with balz:

https://thestrangeandunusual.com/

instagram.com/joshbalz

twitter.com/joshbalz

Podcast Mentions:

The Strange & Unusual

Motionless in White

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