Drawing gigs

Bands on tour inhabit a different realm. They travel from gig to gig, working by night and sleeping by day, and occupying only the insides of theatres, pubs and hotel rooms. We’re used to photo-stories of this world, and even glimpses of their hastily scrawled lyrics, jotted down on scraps of paper between gigs, and often later sold at auction for vast sums. Less common are sketches from the musical front line, drawn by singer-songwriters as they journey from show to show. Music journalist Manuel Schreiner and arts teacher Silke Leicher have changed that with Bands on the Road. It’s a collection of drawings, sketches and stories from indie groups on tour, and they reveal both the grit and glamour of tour life, and memories of home. ‘Any sort of travel can change your perception,’ writes Maxïmo Park’s Paul Smith in the book’s foreword. ‘Sometimes it’s better to forget home and enjoy the moment, although there’s comfort in thoughts and pictures of where you come from.’ The book features both, with larky, often lurid images of tour life, and fond drawings of childhood memories. Brendan Benson of The Raconteurs depicts Amsterdam’s red light district with almost the intensity of a Van Gogh, while the Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson paints his new house with exuberant colour. Pete Doherty’s scrawled memories of Moscow are as chaotic as you’d expect, while Smith’s line drawing of an ordinary Cologne car park is very orderly – not what you expect from bands on the road.

Bands on the Road by Silke Leicher and Manuel Schreiner is published by Thames & Hudson on 20 October, priced £12.95

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