Rules of the Pygmy Road

Bandmembers spend more time on the road together than most husbands and wives. They eat together, sleep together, work together, and light intestinal gas together. The following are the Velcro Pygmies' informal Rules of the Road, a rough guideline for the emotional and physical survival of life on a rock 'n' roll tour, as told by Cam Flener, VP frontman.

In the confines of this unit, within the band, we can pat ourselves on the back if we want to. If Blake feels like he did something that was good, he can say, 'Hey man, I think I really kicked ass tonight.' Or if I feel like I did something, we can brag to ourselves and get that out. But anytime you are out in the open, in front of other people, humility is the number one thing, because in this business it's so easy for people to get an ego when there's no reason to have one. We play other people's music and everybody [in the crowd] gets drunk and has a good time. If you let that go to your head and think, 'Hey man, I'm a star,' and walk around like your stuff doesn't stink, then that's no good. Amongst us, you can let your ego run free if you want to. But out there in the open, it doesn't happen.

If you got something to say or your mad at somebody, that's fine, but you don't hold any grudges. You get it out and then it's over with. It's back to work. If I want to call Blake an asshole, I can, but I know he's going to be right there beside me on the stage 20 minutes later.

More concrete, or less abstract, we always eat as much as we want to. Nobody ever goes hungry.

We always sleep in a nice place. I'm not talking a Hilton, but a place where it's clean and is a name hotel, a Holiday Inn a Comfort Inn or something like that. If we're not healthy -- if we were staying in flea bag hotels and eating in just dives because we didn't want to spend the money, we would have broken up months ago. We would have never been able to last. The van -- this is a luxury that a lot of people might think we don't need, but we wanted to be comfortable.

We have rule that if somebody wants to bring a girlfriend on the road, that's fine, but you have to cover her expenses. She can't stay in the hotel room with the band, you have to get your own room, because there's a certain amount of privacy that we like to have. It can be pretty offensive for a female to hang around nine guys that are acting silly and cutting up, and being immature. It doesn't mean anything, but it can be offensive, and we don't want that to happen.

Although we are a six-man business partnership, we are more of a family. So if Robbo is having trouble with his girlfriend, then we are his support group. We're the people that we want him to dump that on, because it'll reflect in his playing. Or if I'm having trouble with my girlfriend and I'll stand up there and forget half the lyrics to a song I've sung. We all want that to come out. If you've got financial problems, if you've got social problems, whatever's bugging you, we want to know about it. We want it out brought out. We really don't ask for people to leave their problems at home because we don't want them to. We're everybody else's best friend. You figure that eight heads are better than one, and even though the advice that we give might not be what they want to hear, at least we're giving them alternatives.