Touring, traveling or any forward motion defies expectation — they are simple experiences that challenge the narrative we all believe.

The moving of van tires and propulsion of airplanes rub together with the universe to create sparks. If done right, the explorer will be gifted with a spontaneously combustible experience, but for a limited time only. It’s something to help see more color in the world. For many with an artistic bent, music becomes the catalyst for going out of the ordinary.

Local drummer Wil Splinter is no exception. Known for his work with Tone in Georgia, he recently returned from a 39-day tour with LA Indie artist Kenzo Cregan. Opening for artists Weathers and Aaron Taos, their travels spanned across the entire US and back.

Continuing our conversation from last week, Splinter painted me an honest portrait of real life on the road.

Jesse Davidson: What was your day-to-day routine like? Was the band able to get a decent amount of sleep per night?

Wil Splinter: Honestly, Kenzo’s not old, but the rest of us, we’re old enough where sleep matters. It depended on the venue and how late we got done. In general, I feel like we were able to get close to eight hours every night. We were working the long game doing this for a month-and-a-half. Our backs hurt, my knee hurts and we have to load and unload a van everyday (chuckles). We were conscious about taking our vitamins and getting our sleep. That crazy Rock ’n Roll lifestyle, you know.

JD: You have to regiment your life more to stay healthy.

WS: That’s a good point. Doing this now, there’s a lot more about being healthy and keeping your immune system up. That also played a part in not really partying and going out after the shows. It was a very strict policy with the tour. If anyone tested positive, the tour was done. Everyone was doing what they could to stay healthy.

JD: We’re so used to, as musicians, meeting people after shows and shaking hands. It’s a social occupation. You have to think about the bigger picture.

WS: For the most part, I think people on the road were pretty understanding. Everyone was just pretty grateful to go to a show again.

JD: How were the travel conditions throughout the trip?

WS: We were leaving right when fall was starting. We got into the Northeast area right as fall started to turn the leaves. I think we dodged a lot of sketchy weather too, that happened afterward.

JD: That’s the best. I’m a sucker for landscapes. Taking in the subtle differences in scenery from place to place. With fall, you get that excellent change in colors happening.

WS: It’s funny because I brought a bunch of stuff to keep myself busy. I figured I’d be sitting in a van for eight hours a day, I need something to do. I really didn’t use any of it because I was looking out the window that whole time. Every single day, I was in a new ecosystem (laughs). Every city we went into, taking in all the different styles. All the buildings. Music aside, it was tour of the United States.

JD: Exactly! It’s an exercise in shifting perspective. Some people could look out that same window and be really bored. I always bring a journal and start jotting down ideas. Being in that environment makes my mind wander.

WS: I’m the same way. I think our whole van was like that. On that topic of being the “old guys” on tour, when we did have days off or free time, we went to museums and aquariums. It was really wild (laughs). An educational tour. We went to the Basketball Hall of Fame, the Shed Aquarium in Chicago, all kinds of fun things. That stuff is right up my alley.

JD: Same here. Aside from that, I always enjoy things like, “The World’s Biggest Ball of Yarn” that’s coming up in 20 miles.

WS: Oh yeah, you’ve got to see it.

JD: That’s touring in a nutshell really. Playing music is such a small part of your day compared to the camaraderie spent with the people you travel with.

WS: We called it a four-tiered tour we did. Tour A is playing the music. Tour B is museums. Tour C is family and friends we hadn’t seen in a long time that came out to the shows. Tour D was trying all the local beer and food. That was the ongoing theme. The music part is great but man, there’s lots of cool things to do, learn and try when traveling around the US. Music is a good excuse to make that happen for yourself.

Check them out

Kenzo Cregan

Wil Splinter on Instagram

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