The band Death Valley High. From Left to Right: Reyka Osburn – lead vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, Adam West – drummer, Sean Bivens – guitarist, Huffy Haffera – bassist, backing vocalist.
Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with frontman, Reyka Osburn from the goth rock, band, Death Valley High. If you have never checked out this band, you need to. They are amazing and also a great live act! These boys are dear friends of mine and I’m so happy for them and all of their accomplishments within the world of music.
In this interview, we discussed touring, which is something under normal circumstances this band does a lot of both here in the USA and also overseas! A lot of people think of touring in a band as something that is very fun and glamorous. While it can be. it can also very tiring and grueling, especially if you do not take care of yourself.
I’m grateful to Reyka that he graciously took time out to share how he and his bandmates approach this subject.This is dedicated to every band, who goes out, lives on the road and gives their all to deliver stellar live performances night after night. Hopefully very soon, DVH can get back out on the road and rock out with their fans!
Ash Andersen (Rock n Roll.biz): Tell me about the first time y’all went out on the road.
Reyka Osburn: Our first major tour was with Mindless Self Indulgence. It’s probably one of my favorite tours that we’ve had so far. We were finally getting to play to packed houses of about 700 – 1400 in capacity. That in itself was very exciting. We did a few shows out to the first date, which was in Toronto, Canada. We were super nervous about just getting into Canada, let alone being the first show of the tour. We didn’t want to miss our first night due to the Canadian Border Patrol.
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): What advice would you give to bands, who are about to go on their first extended tour? Do you think touring is something that becomes easier the more that you do it?
Reyka Osburn: Aside from the obvious things, like proper vehicle maintenance and an ample supply of socks and underwear; I think having a healthy amount of patience on your first tour goes a long way. Patience with your bandmates, the venue, patience with traveling… Be laser focused in all of your business, but keep some zen in your back pocket!
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): How do you boys break up the monotony or being on the road? Do you play cards, write songs? What is a day like for DVH, that involves a lot of traveling?
Reyka Osburn: One way of traveling well with others is to take time for yourself. You’re living on top of each other. There is plenty of time to be communal, so relish those times you get to be in your bunk (or your seat bench) and just do your thing. If it’s a long twelve hour haul, trade up the driving. Although this rarely happens, let the driver be in control of the music / radio. We tend to have the co – pilot be in control and that’s ok too. For a while, “Ha…”
Ash Andersen: (Rock-n-Roll.biz): Do you choose or have control over where you will go on a tour?
Reyka Osburn: It’s always nice to be in charge of setting up the tour, so that the travel in between is not too far. Venues do not always line up, so you’ve got to keep moving. You might have to go well out of your way to make a buck! That said, we work pretty closely with our booking agent. He is really open to debate. If booking is too far out of the way, we ultimately have to decide if the money and time will be worth it…
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): What are some places that you and the band would love to go and tour?
Reyka Osburn: We have literally been through all of the 48 mainland states here in the USA and played nearly all of them. I was just saying last night that Mexico City and a swing down to South America is on the dream list. Also Japan would be amazing! We’ll take a rain check for now on the Eastern regions, while this corona virus runs its course though!
Ash Andersen: (Rock-n-Roll.bizI have been fortunate enough to have had a little experience going on very short tours in bands. But, I’ve never been on a full fledged extensive tour. My question is how do you guys maintain stamina on the road? Like for example if you play the Filmore East in San Francisco then, you hop in a vehicle and travel 6 hours straight to L.A. and then play the Whiskey A Go – Go the following night? There’s very little time to rest and recover.
Reyka Osburn: It’s really draining on some of us. If you develop any kind of insomnia or just sleepiness in general, you have to rely on pure adrenaline. Especially if you’re adding booze to the mix, you’ve gotta be careful. It’ll catch up to you, if you don’t plan on taking “nights off” from after show partying. Some nights you drink to remember a show well played, other nights… You drink to forget!
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): What’s the best thing that’s ever happen to you guys as a band, while on tour?
Reyka Osburn: It’s always nice to get a “bonus” at the end of a show (i.e. a bigger payout!) Some nights a promoter will add a little more to the envelope. That’s one of the best surprises you can get while on tour.
Another awesome surprise is a hotel room. Once we had a tour manager from another band give us the room key to his room, which he only needed for the day. We all slept sideways on a king size bed and we were all able to get showers before heading to the next town.
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): Do you boys ever get the chance to do any sight seeing or anything like that while you are on tour?
Reyka Osburn: Sometimes we are able to see some sights, provided that we have ample time in between stops. On our way to Switzerland, Adam coordinated with the tour manager to have the driver take us to the Giger Museum in Chur. It was a complete surprise that they kept from mainly me! It was incredible to wake up and see the Swiss Alps AND at the base of the village, where H.R. Giger’s museum and bar were located!
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): Can you please provide our readers with links to your website and any new material?
Reyka Osburn: You can always find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @deathvalleyhigh; as well as http://deathvalleyhigh.com. Our newest song is up at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrHMRESU9x0 and for purchase at https://deathvalleyhigh.bandcamp.com/track/raise-hell. It will be available for streaming everywhere by the end of March.
Ash Andersen (Rock-n-Roll.biz): Thanks again Reyka, you boys are the real deal and I’m so proud of all of you!
Reyka Osburn: Thanks Ash, it’s been fun to chat!
Interview by Ash Andersen.