Hello and thank you for visiting this page! Because that means you’re helping the tour happen!
This is just a quick guide/checklist to lodging Marian and her guitarist (Scott or Bryan or Seth or Jordan or Laura — all of them are fantastic).
The basics: there are two of us, we don’t share a bed, we can share a room. But there’s more important stuff about food and cats and smoke and stuff.
I made this little lodging list because even though I love absolutely everybody, I’m getting a little too old to sleep on the floor and eat cookies every day. And that puts us in the awkward situation of turning down special homemade goods, coughing all day, or driving with hurting backs for hours. So I thought it would be good to write down some guidelines in advance, and stick to them. The pursuit of a good night’s sleep is crucial while traveling at crazy speeds around the country.
So here are our requirements re. staying places overnight, mostly based on past experiences and questions we frequently have to deal with –
- Pets: one of my guitarists, Scott, is allergic to all cats and some dogs. If I’m with Scott and you have a cat in the house, I’m sorry, we cannot stay overnight, even if you promise you have a “cat-free” room — no room has yet been “cat-free” enough. We can sometimes stay in houses with dogs, though before we arrive we need the guitarist’s room to be really truly clean of pet hair, super clean, top to bottom, and we need the dog/s to be outside or kept away from people most of the time. Sorry. Your pets are awesome. But constant sneezing and misery is really bad for band morale.
- Smoke and scents: sorry, we can’t really sing or spend the night in a house with smokers. That includes tobacco, marijuana, and strong incense, potpourri, or perfume. We have tried and it doesn’t work. But we still want to have you at the show! We are just super smoke-sensitive.
- Kids: we love kids! We also need to sleep, that’s the only thing. So kids are great, as long as we can retreat from them behind a closed door while we snooze (if we’re out on the sofa and they are up at six AM running around, that is not such a great situation — or if they come knocking on our door repeatedly with questions and requests). Babies who are up repeatedly during the night are OK if we’re far enough away from them in the house — if they’re in the next room, we would probably rather cuddle with them before bed and then go to a hotel. But if we can sleep? Yes, kids good!
- Internet: we absolutely need working wireless internet every night, as we often have to work late after everyone else is in bed.
- Beds: There are two of us (me + guitarist) and we can share a room, but not a bed. When driving in we have our own sleeping bags in case you don’t have extra sheets etc., but we do need clean pillows & towels. For sleeping surfaces, here are some things that work: a hygienic/clean/not-stained guest bed or kid bed, a not-collapsed couch or futon that can fit someone 68″ tall without curling up, or a thick foam pad (think 4-6″) or very thick camping pad. If you have a futon/couch/hide-a-bed, try napping in it yourself to make sure it’s clean, working, and not a backbreaker (30% of them turn out to be broken or painful, I know by actual test). If you have an air mattress, it needs to be totally leak-free, as 60% of them leave you on the floor by morning (I know this by sleeping on a hundred air mattresses at least). We can always borrow from a friend if you’re short one workable bed, or we can ask the local Twitter community for an extra. Planning for it in advance makes it all work great!
- Food: I’m a vegetarian (fish is OK), and we both eat fairly healthy — no sweets, no junk food, very little “party” food. We play at parties and restaurants every night, but we just can’t eat a feast and drink beer all the time or we will get Fat or Dead or Both. And nobody wants that! If you make something special we will sample the wonderfulness of course, but don’t be offended if we take only a bite. We really need something healthy and simple and raw as often as we can get it. Good guidelines: local fruit and veggies, real fruit juice or smoothies, wheat/brown bread or rice instead of white, no corn syrup or MSG, not a lot of cheese. We do love a hot meal after driving all day/playing all night, and steamed veggies, veggie pasta, soup, tacos/fajitas, veggie burgers, grilled chicken and veggies, Indian food, sushi, or stir fry (without sticky sugary sauce) are great options. In fact if we have time and ingredients I am happy to cook for you! We have no food allergies, but I (Marian) can’t handle cilantro or raw onions, and I avoid mushrooms though I can eat around them. Often we can’t eat at normal times, so we’d be grabbing food very early or very late instead of at dinnertime — if you make a huge meal we may disappoint you with the eating schedule. For breakfast, even though a big pancake feast may seem like fun, we strongly prefer cereal/granola or wheat toast and fruit, maybe an egg — day-to-day breakfast and not a feast. No bacon, sorry. Staying healthy helps the shows be good!
- Drinks: Since people ask us a lot, my accompanists usually drink water, coffee, iced tea, and good beer, and occasionally whiskey (not much). I usually drink water, cow milk, fruit juice, tea, and dry red or white wine. We will taste a little alcohol, a beer or glass of wine or two, but we can’t consume much in one night, and some nights we just need to skip it. Don’t spend yourself silly on growlers or twelve-packs for our exclusive use.
- Leftovers: This is the most awkward and painful thing, so maybe writing it in advance will help. We love you but we really can’t bring food with us. Not even avocados. Water bottles or apples or a granola bar, maybe, but almost nothing else. Most of our lunches and dinners in the future are already scheduled with other people, and food will get lost and gross in the car. So please don’t insist on sending us away with food we can’t eat. (A recipe is a great alternative take-away option! We love recipes! They don’t make the car smell funny after a week.)
- Cleanliness: Only a problem four or five times, but oh, was it ever a problem. Your house does not need to be spotless at all — but we do need it to be basically hygienic to stay overnight. Clutter is totally OK if it’s dry clutter; evidence of kids and life is great. The main point is good hygiene — think periodically swept/vacuumed floors, no garbage sitting out on floors or tables, no gross smells, no sticky surfaces, no resident insect colonies indoors, bathroom de-grossed and full of hand soap and clean towels. Messy toys and books and gadgets and papers are not a problem, but old food and wet/sticky spots and mold and pet hair and bugs are a problem, and we love you but we might have to go find a hotel.
- Phone: I’ll probably send you my phone number so we can coordinate. Texting is ideal since I’m probably driving or working and may need to reply after a few hours. I beg you, please delete my number from your phone after we are done with the homestay; I don’t want to cut you out of my life, but I don’t text or talk on the phone socially, and I get so many random texts a year later from people who are chatty, and that’s not good. Every other way is better for getting ahold of me. So please, once you’re done with the phone, let its number fly up into the air and be free.
- THANK YOU! You help to make the tour work. I have gotten more established but I am still completely reliant on the help of folks like you who are volunteering support. Whatever happens, it happens because of you!
If you want to help out, but one of the notes below excludes you from offering lodging — I’m sorry about that. You’re awesome for offering. I would love to connect with you in some other capacity! Come hang out at a show or help host. Mostly it just makes me feel old that I can’t put up with everything anymore — I used to be able to do this stuff, man! Awwww. Gettoff my lawn, kids.
If you ever have a specific question, just get in touch — firstname.lastname@example.org.