Drummer Eric Davis (The Left, Pompadoors) has had his share of struggles and victories on the road. Davis was a founding member of a fairly successful band, The Left (second place winner in 2009 peak performance project, and first place in Fox Vancouver Seeds to name a few), and has now formed a new band, Pompadoors with former Left members Carl Davis and Josh Wyper. The band was conceived while on tour with The Left, as the three discussed “what they really wanted out of life and music.” The name stems from Carl’s distinctive hair style—a pompadour. The three-piece have made a name for themselves in the corporate sector playing gigs for company parties and expos. Davis was kind enough to answer some questions on tour life, and impart some hard earned wisdom:
Mars’ Hill: What is the longest you have been on tour for? What sort of challenges did this present for you personally?
Eric Davis: The longest tour I have ever been on was two and-a-half months. I toured with The Left across Canada for about a month. When we got to Toronto we did a record for a month and toured back home in roughly another month. We had some success at certain points, and moments of pure failure. I also had a wife and baby at home that I missed dearly, so I really had to concentrate on the business side of the music to distract me from missing them.
MH: What was it like for you the first time you went on tour?
ED: Very exciting. You ignore everything that is negative because it doesn’t matter – you are just so happy that you are touring. From the moment the music starts until the music ends is the best part of touring; everything else is lettuce.
MH: What is your craziest tour story?
ED: The Left was on tour across Canada with Blind Melon. Our tour vehicle was a twenty-five foot RV with a trailer full of gear. Half way between Winnipeg and Saskatchewan the frame of the RV broke at the back and the bumper was dragging on the ground. We decided to keep driving because we had a show that night—sparks were flying. We rolled into an auto body shop in town to get it fixed and they told us it would cost about $12,000 and take around three weeks. At this point the band was very irritable and decided to separate to think over the options. We had no money and were dependent upon the RV. Our bass player drove the RV out of the city to the welding shop and two guys rolled underneath the RV. They told us they could fix it for sixty bucks and a case of beer. It was done in 20 minutes.
MH: How do you deal with tension within a band on tour?
ED: I’m lucky because my brother is in my band so we have been together our whole lives and never really have friction. I discovered I had to be in a band with people that see the big picture and are considerate and polite to everyone they meet—I’m in that band now.
MH: Many Canadian bands struggle with gaining cross-border fans— any wisdom for developing a wider fan base?
ED: Yes, your live show must be very entertaining and you must have great songs. People in every country like that. I don’t find touring outside of Canada to be different. Pretty much for every show—no matter what city you are in—you drive downtown, down an alleyway, unload gear into the back of the club, do sound check, go for dinner, go to the hotel, and play a show. I love it.
MH: Practical question: What can’t you live without on tour?
ED: A nice suit, sunglasses, a phone, really nice shoes, and drums. My advice is only to bring the best things that you own because the moment you leave your house you are a walking commercial for your band. The more people that like who you are and your music, the more chance they will come to your show—shows with lots of people are always more fun.
MH: What is the most challenging moment you have had playing in a different city?
ED: We were on tour with Hedley playing Trail B.C. for a crowd of 1,200. During our set, Hedley’s singer had a cordless microphone stage-side and put himself in our monitors and started talking to us and singing while we played. During the soft bridge of a song he came out and tried to remove our singer’s pants. I didn’t have to play anything so I jumped up from my drums and dive tackled him before he could pull our singer’s pants off. At this point Hedley’s roadies jumped in and separated us and I ran back to the drums for the last chorus.
MH: What advice would you give to a band wanting to go on tour for the first time?
ED: Videotape your band performing your set. Watch it.
MH: What is your plan for the future? Are your guys planning any tours?
ED: The plan for the immediate future is to finish our record and do showcases, starting in March, in Vancouver, Toronto, New York, and L.A.
The Pompadoors are currently recording an album, as well as playing locally. You can see the Pompadoors on February 7th at the Roxy in Vancouver. For more information check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and their favourite, Instagram.