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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Late Night Drive

posted by on June 20 at 12:25 PM

rockstar-energycola.jpgOne of the pitfalls of a touring band or DJ is the late night drive.

By the time you finish playing and packing up the van, car, or bus, it’s after 2 AM. There’s a long drive the next day to get to the next show, so you get on the road to knock a few hours off the trip.

After an hour or so, everyone falls asleep, and the driver is left to fend off sleep alone. The drowse heavily approaches. You put on a good cd, something with a beat.

You must stave off the nod off. Fight it. It’s a testy time, these lone wee hours – crack the energy drink and chug.

There’s Red Bull, Rock Star, Vortex, Venom, and Monster.

They tout things like ginseng, guarana, and taurine. What the hell is guarana?

Ms. Led prefers something called “Swarm.”

And here’s “Cocaine.”


They said Cocaine, the energy drink, was “speed in a can” and “liquid cocaine.” But the FDA said, uh uh, and pulled it from the shelves.

On those late drives, how do you stay awake?

What is your energy drink of choice?

How do you fight off the gripping hand of sleep?

RSS icon Comments


I pinch my leg and stick my head out the window.

Oh, and Van Halen's 'Diver Down.' I must have Diver Down.

Posted by Bandit Ono | June 20, 2007 12:50 PM

dance music. makes traffic bearable too.

Posted by boobee | June 20, 2007 12:54 PM

T Raumschmiere & a 24 ounce Rock Star. That'll do it.

Posted by shane | June 20, 2007 1:03 PM

Red Bull and the entire QOTSA catalog does nicely. Also, setting the radio between stations and focusing on the moog-like noises that can happen there has often been the only lifeline to awake-ness at 2-5 a.m. It sounds strange (literally) but when you're in week 5 of a 2 month tour, driving between Calgary and Winnipeg at 2 a.m., and totally fucked in the head, it really works.

Posted by Eric Corson | June 20, 2007 1:04 PM


"is a shrub or small tree in the Sapindaceae family, native to Venezuela and northern Brazil. The seed of the Guaraná fruit is a central nervous system stimulant with thermogenic and diuretic properties.

Guaraná plays an important role in Tupi and Guaraní Brazilian culture.

The name 'guaraná' is derived from the Tupi-Guarani word wara'ná. These tribes believed it to be magical, a cure for bowel complaints and a way to regain strength. They also tell the myth of a 'Divine Child' that was killed by a serpent and whose eyes gave birth to this plant."

Posted by WikiMan | June 20, 2007 1:09 PM


Posted by dan | June 20, 2007 1:13 PM

A magical cure for bowel complaints? Man, my grandad could have used some of that shit.

Posted by Smith | June 20, 2007 1:17 PM

cigarettes and talk radio

Posted by gary Reynolds | June 20, 2007 1:23 PM

Windows down.
Crank the radio in "scan" mode and don't stop it.
A new station every few seconds at top volume does the trick.
Drink water.

Posted by Pico D. | June 20, 2007 1:33 PM

good ol' fashioned coffee still works for me. and some louder, high energy music helps too.. made the mistake of putting on some dreamy stereolab album while taking a dark highway through alabama. and i suppose the fear of hitting deer kept us awake through that drive.

Posted by jasun | June 20, 2007 1:48 PM

Really, it's best to avoid this situation whenever possible. But I have kept myself up with a well-timed caffeinated beverage (regular old coffee or coke does the trick for me) and an ipod playlist of loud fast music cranked speaker-rattlingly loud.

But that was a solo drive, for a solo show in Portland. If you're with a band, there should absolutely be a rule that one other person besides the driver must be awake. Exploding Hearts should've taught us all that lesson.

Posted by Levislade | June 20, 2007 1:50 PM

the thing that's always works best for me is getting the drummer to drive.

Posted by graig | June 20, 2007 1:55 PM

Meth & coke cocktail always helps, open the windows drive fast listening to my own tragic pop tunes, drive up on sidewalks if it helps and try to avoid the paparazzi they just don't understand how hard it is too keep up the pace;-)

Posted by Lindsey Lohan | June 20, 2007 2:13 PM

How about some damn Twizzlers?

Twizzlers and cola. Mountain Dew.

But then you have to pee like every 7 minutes.

Posted by Big Whopper | June 20, 2007 2:19 PM

Slap myself in the face til' it's red. Window down.. then if that doesn't work.. pull the fuck over... better to sleep than die...yup yup

Posted by shawn | June 20, 2007 2:36 PM

Any liquid in large quantities will work - nothing keeps you awake and driving at top speed like constantly needing to pee. Couple that with Phil Collins' "No Jacket Required" and one could drive for days...

Posted by Hernandez | June 20, 2007 3:05 PM

@12- why the drummer? cuz he works the hardest loading heavy gear, and is also mentally exhausted from using all 4 limbs to play music rather than 2 hands? you must be a guitar player.

Posted by steve gadd | June 20, 2007 3:21 PM

Chocolate-covered coffee beans. Caffeine, with no liquid to exacerbate its diuretic properties (i.e. keeps you up, without having to pee every twenty miles).

Posted by Ben | June 20, 2007 3:41 PM

@17- You must be a drummer, no one else would bat an eye at forcing him to drive, or stick up for the crazy bastard.

I have a multi-phased approach which, so far, has avoided killing me and a carload.

Drive as far as you can before the eyelids start turning to lead, at that point swing through a 7-11 to pick up some snacks and some kind of energy drink. Get back on the road and drive as far as possible while consuming the snacks but not having the drink.

Once the awakeness from the stop wears off and you start fading again start looking for a decent place to pull over. Set cell phone alarm for a 25 minute nap. Pound the drink as soon as the alarm goes off as you're pulling back onto the road.

Drive, Drive, Drive for another 3-4 hours until the sun is up and some other sucker has to drive. For some reason the quick nap combined with the alarm and stimulants reset my clock and double the distance I can make it. Just tanking up on energy drinks doesn't work for me, tricking my body with a quick sleep cycle does wonders. Using this method will usually allow me to move us 7-9 hours down the road. Not recommended for more than a week or so consecutively if you want what's left of your sanity.

Posted by aaa | June 20, 2007 3:53 PM

Coffee and Camel Lights

Posted by McGrath | June 20, 2007 6:44 PM

I play speed metal and think about nudity.

Posted by SPEEDY | June 20, 2007 7:54 PM

I stick a fox and a rabbit in my ass and then let nature take its course. No way to sleep with all that crazy action going on.

Posted by baboon | June 21, 2007 12:24 AM

Luckily for me, it's well-known to my bandmates that I am notorious for dozing off behind the wheel at night, so they just don't ask. Although I agree with #11 - there should always be one other person awake.

Posted by Erik R | June 21, 2007 1:32 AM

Snacks and cigarettes. I've never fallen asleep with food in my mouth. And Karp. Loud.

Posted by Munchy | June 21, 2007 7:09 AM

Spike Shooter.
300 miligrams of caffeine

Posted by Owen | June 21, 2007 10:10 AM

My eyes are a sea-stained blue, containing low amounts of melanin within the iris stroma. This allows for more than the average amount light to pass through them. Driving at night can often put me into a trance as the passing headlights and reflectors penetrate my retina. I am not an energy drink drinker, they're not my bag. So the only ways for me to stay up are slapping myself on the face, fiddling with the radio, and of course -talking to myself. But even that can get boring.

Posted by BEn | June 21, 2007 10:30 AM

Last night I drove home from a gig listening to my singer complain about bands he hates.

Posted by B'caw | June 21, 2007 12:15 PM

Art Bell works well for me. Also, attempting to sing the entire Blood Sugar Sex Magic album a cappella. And Pilot travel centers now have "intense energy" coffee. Seldom, you'll run across a fuel station that still carries Jolt Cola. That's like splitting 8's, then getting a 3, then doubling down, then getting a face card.

Posted by Electric Larry | June 21, 2007 12:16 PM

sunflower seeds. the unshelled kind. keeps ya busy. worse case scenario: plucking nose hairs.

Posted by bubbles | June 21, 2007 2:06 PM

Plucking, I like plucking. Haven't thought of that one yet.

I was going to say caffeine, but this post has given me new tactics.

I will never be sleepy again.

Posted by bletonic | June 21, 2007 2:35 PM

Sorry I am blog behind. This article is dangerous and should immediatly be placed in underground status. But what I really want to know is how did they get cocaine in coke at first and how the hell do you get a fox up your ass?The rabbit I understand.

Posted by Tante | June 23, 2007 1:23 PM

what a load of rubbish!

Posted by James Morrison | July 3, 2007 8:54 AM

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