Tour Diary: Goodnight Nurse - Doin' It For The Kids
Author: Joel Little (photography by Alex Little)
Another thing students do is beg and plead for your personal belongings. I was expecting maybe one or two kids to ask for my guitar pick. But they're screaming for sweatbands, bracelets, hats, shoes and pretty much anything they can see. They're relentless too. It often goes like this:
"Hey Joel, can I have your shoes?"
Me: "No sorry, I need them to walk around in."
"Awww come on! Please?"
Me: "No sorry they're my only pair."
"Awww come on, why not?"
Me: "Because then I wouldn't have any shoes."
"Awww ok then... what about just one?"
Being on the road for so long, we wondered whether we were going to hate each other by the end of the tour. We thought we were going to be strangling each other after two weeks, but the expected violent showdowns haven't eventuated.
We're surrounded by each other every minute of the day too, whether it be on the bus, at the schools, in our rooms or at the weekend shows. There's a complete lack of privacy and when somebody does something everybody knows about it. Which ain't pretty when all eight of us in the crew share the same toilet.
And because we base ourselves in one town every week, not only do we all go shopping together on Monday but take turns cooking each night. It's like being married to seven other guys.
Being in such close proximity does mean cabin fever regularly sets in. We combat this by thinking up new and innovative ways to entertain ourselves. A highlight for me was the night in Wellington we all donned 'Depends' adult nappies and ran through the city streets, culminating in a triumphant hand-in-hand waltz up the steps of Parliament.
Another highlight was the fancy dress bowling evening we had in Wanganui. Dressed in the most ridiculous clothing we could find we headed down to the local Bowlarama, only to be informed by tour coordinator/head honcho Matt that we would be doing an interview with a local paper while we were there. Trying to answer serious questions while Paul is sitting next to me with chest hair tufting out of his sleeveless denim vest was impossible.
Our accommodation has been varied, but interesting. I wasn't particularly fond of the B&B in Dunedin where five of us slept in the same room as the ice cold shower. @ The Hub in Palmerston North was unique in that our rooms had no windows and no natural light. The Landmark Manor Motel in New Plymouth was a very nice place, brand new with all the mod cons. But the person who booked the rooms for us told the owner we were a jazz band. He wasn't pleased when we showed up. At one stage he came in to our room while we were watching TV and said: "I don't mind if you guys want to have a few drinks, but if you do please don't go out into the car park and scream and smash bottles. It would bother the other tenants."
The coolest thing on tour is the huge response we're getting from fans. It really has come as a surprise. Kids from Dunedin will show up in Nelson, 10 hours drive away, with hand-painted Goodnight Nurse signs. We get a lot of letters from kids at schools too, one or two have been scary but mostly they're really sweet. One girl wrote me a song. Another proposed. We're getting married in the fall.
And still every day I wonder, 'How did WE get to do this?' This isn't real life, playing every day, signing autographs, having kids scream our name and sometimes burst into tears when they see us. We certainly ain't The Beatles. But we get to travel the country in a bus with our name on the side and do what we've always wanted to do - play songs we love to big crowds every day. We really are the luckiest guys in the world... geez... I promised myself I wouldn't cry...