Please enjoy the following guest post regarding Travelodge from Neil Findlay – drummer with Curse Of Lono.
Overseas musicians may not be aware of one of the UK’s most important tour necessities – the Travelodge. These are roughly equivalent to the fabled Motel 6’s, the cheap and cheerful roadside refuge to many an asphalt abused musician. Put aside any grandiose visions of swimming pools and rock n roll excess in late-night rooftop bars, the Travelodge is the home away from home to musicians touring on a budget.
In London, they say you’re only ever 10ft from a rat. Similarly, on the UK’s motorway network you’re only ever 10 miles from the nearest Travelodge. Having been up and down the UK on tour more times than I can shake a drumstick at, I’m personally vying to stay in every single one of their hotels before my career as a traveling musician is up. According to their website, they have over 560 hotels in the UK but, judging by my steadily-growing collection of plastic entry cards and the fact that I’m on first name terms with an ever-increasing number of hotel staff in every major city, I must surely be getting there.
I have no idea what prize I may win for staying in them all – a free night’s stay, a T-shirt or possibly a stab at the £8.95 all you can eat breakfast buffet. I hope there is a prize, but somehow I doubt it.
To the touring musician, however, a Travelodge provides a lot more than just a simple but comfortable bed to rest in, a nice cup of tea at the start and end of the day and a bathroom to flood every morning, courtesy of the complimentary broken shower attachment. Travelodges are the unspoken late-night hub for up and coming rock stars and bands touring the UK.
Easily recognized by hats, hair and the mutual post gig discomfort of having to unload music valuables from the van in a car park at 3am, I have met countless other likeminded nocturnal musical types in these hotels over the years. It’s the real musicians’ hotel of choice and you honestly haven’t lived until you’ve tried surviving two weeks off the varying bounty of a late night Travelodge vending machine.
Like business cards, I have exchanged CD’s, smokes, suspicious-looking cigarettes and views on the current state of the music industry with fellow musos in receptions and over breakfast in their restaurants all over the country. It’s also fair to say that I have been in attendance at some pretty wild after show parties in Travelodge rooms, all of which look 100% identical. All 40,000 of them.
These hotels are the last stop sanctuary for the gigging musician and I’m willing to bet that every night of the week there’s at least one band partying alongside a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in a Travelodge room within 10 miles of you.
I’m also willing to bet that many a future hits will be penned in the flickering TV ambiance of their generic hotel rooms as well as many a musical career bent, broken and forged within the roadside walls and corridors of this secret and unspoken UK music fraternity.
In the meantime, I’m off to check in – I have a Tshirt to win…