Ask Jana (from Montana)…jobs, speed limits, the universe.

29 Aug


We are meandering through Montana right now…we had the luxury of leaving Washington on Monday and not having a gig until tonight (Wednesday), so we’ve seen a movie in Spokane (The Campaign) and walked around the Cataldo Mission in Idaho and downtown Missoula. Now, back to work!

But first…some ask Jana.

Deborah asks: Does the amazon sprinter have a cot in the back for the non-driver so you can drive non-stop? And as a follow up does the cot have a safety belt system or would a supposed roll of the sprinter also toss the salad sleeper?

Excellent question and salad sleeper is my new favorite term. Yes, there is copious amounts of sleep space in the Sprinter. The dogs take up about 80% of it, though Susan does sleep in there with the dogs from time to time and one of us can sleep should the other one need to keep driving. However, this trip all the sleeping has been done in the passenger seat. There is a bunk bed over the back cargo area and I have seen people sleep up there while driving and no one has been hurtled off, but Susan is a responsible driver.

Michael asks: What’s your favorite TV show?

My favorite right now that I can watch over and over again is Better Off Ted, which was short-lived but is on Netflix. I found it because I am a big Arrested Development fan, and Portia de Rossi is hilarious in both. Since Better Off Ted is no longer with us, all I watch on a regular basis are things like MasterChef and Kitchen Nightmares, because I think Gordon Ramsay is awesome. I don’t have cable so Netflix and Hulu are my suppliers.

Denisa asks: I wanna know TEN THINGS ABOUT MONTANA that I would not otherwise know, had you not told me. Montana doesn’t get much PR since Zappa.

– If you’re on I-90 you’ll cross over the Clark Fork River about 47 times.
– It’s cold here a lot.
– Hardin, Montana is the first town on this tour where we did not think, “We should have a satellite office here!” Sorry, Hardin.
– Bozeman has a really cool venue/studio collective called Peach Street Studios and Jackie and Jason Wickens, who run Live From the Divide there, are awesome.
– The Gibson Guitar Factory gives tours on Wednesdays at 2:30.
– Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi in the lower 48.
– Missoula is a lot like Austin but it’s colder here but people ride bikes anyway.
– Missoula has the hippest Motel 6 I have ever stayed in.
– Cherry season is amazing along Flathead Lake, when tons of roadside stands pop up from the orchards that line the lake.
– The grizzly bears are giant here.

Matthew asks: Turkey burger or black bean burrito with rice?

I’m loathe to turn down anything wrapped in a tortilla, but I’m on a meat protein kick lately, so…turkey burger.

Lisa asks: Jana I want to know why some people in my family think I need a “Real Job”? Why don’t they understand how much work it takes to play music? Yes we stuggle to make ends meet, but we work our asses off and are doing what we love. So why don’t some people get that?

First of all, it always blows my mind how people tend to insert their opinion in places it is not needed. If you work your bums off to make a living, what more is there to say? You’re working and earning and enjoying. There is no better way. There is no opening to offer you an alternative job because you don’t want one and are not asking for one. It’s like someone coming up and asking you if you want to wear a new shirt when you’re already wearing a perfectly good shirt that you love. Weird.

I think folks don’t understand “the entertainment industry” because in most people’s lives, they are exposed to the music industry via Clear Channel radio and what little music is left on MTV. I still have friends (and friends of friends) inquire, after having worked with Susan for four years, whether she actually makes money doing her job. I should hope so because my rent is not paid by glitter and french fries. People sometimes don’t connect that just because we are not on Sugarland’s Christmas Special on CMT, that doesn’t mean independent artists don’t make money.

I also think many people are stuck in a rather anti-abundance train of thought. You work for money and work is hard and money is bad but necessary and therefore work should be hard and not just hard, but a chore, a labor, a burden.

The truth is…that is not the truth! Jobs can be fulfilling and FUN and interesting…and they can make you money. While true in the music business, it’s true for anyone who wants to work for themselves…it’s hard, and it takes a lot of effort to make things work. I don’t know what could be more “real job” about it then having to be the business manager, financial officer, marketer, merchandiser, AND “product” all at once.

This answer is long already, but I’ll end with the thought that for the folks who do care and get it, there’s no need to justify your living or your job. For those who don’t quite understand yet, just keep living by example. Maybe they’ll be inspired to do something they’ve always wanted to do because you kept doing your thing.

Jeff asks: If a car is traveling at the speed of light, in a vacuum, and then turns the headlights on, what happens? And, as a follow up, what’s your favorite breed of puppy?

a) Then the back of your head is illuminated.
b) I like kittens.

Norma asks: Is the McKenzie River Pizza Company in Missoula still open? If so, will you send me some?

Oddly, I just had McKenzie River pizza for the first time ever this trip, and yes…it was awesome. We ordered the Thai Pie, with peanut sauce and chicken. I could eat that stuff all day, until I got tired of it and then I’d have to eat something else.

Laurel asks: How fast are you guys driving? No speed limits in Montana, right?!

I inquired of Susan and apparently Montana used to be all loose and carefree about it, but now there are definitely speed limits. Her rule is 5 under the limit just because, and I think the limit on I-90 is 70. I can’t verify it though because I have looked up about 3 times while writing this post and have yet to see a speed limit sign, bringing me back around to the beginning question and perhaps, Laurel, you are right. Then the question becomes, “What is 5 under none?”

Zach asks: Here’s a question from my science teacher back in High School. ‘Please explain the universe. Give examples.’

The best I can do for that is cite an article from the September 2012 issue of Vogue about Lady Gaga, wherein when asked to describe Gaga, a friend says, “It’s like there’s no little star that doesn’t get through her galaxy. She catches every single one and puts it in the sky, and she makes it the most important star that ever existed.” That does not explain the universe but it does explain Lady Gaga, who is indeed part of the universe. Next!

Amy asks: Have you ever added up the amount of days total you have been on the road in the last 3 years?

No…although I might be able to guesstimate. Most weeks there are about 3 gigs…sometimes more, sometimes less. I have been on 4 thirty+ day tours since 2010, so that’s 120 days right there. Add in maybe 4 two week tours a year, so that’s another 60 days…and then all the 2-3-4 nighters every week, but minus the ones I already counted…plus crossing time zones at night, plus gigging on solstices and accounting for daylight savings time…67,905 days. I think I messed up somewhere.

Denise asks: When are you coming home…really?!

For reals the arrival date is September 10th. We left on July 31st. This is a long tour, but so far KNOCKONWOOD…a well-paced and fun tour. Lovely scenery, nice people to stay with, good shows. It might also have something to do with the tiny coffee pot we bought and the beans from New Mexico and Seattle we purchased. Those might aid our stamina.

Becky asks: Favorite places/parks to visit in SW Montana! And best place to get pancakes in missoula. That’s important.

Man, I have never had pancakes in Missoula. Now I feel a little dizzy at the admission. However, I recommend Worden’s Market for a good sandwich and last night we found out the Iron Horse has an awesome veggie plate appetizer. I recommend you go half tempura half fresh, and then get some extra dressings like the Thai peanut and the Avocado Orange. Yum.

Everyone needs to see Yellowstone, and then Missoula, which is not a park. But Greenough Park in Missoula is a great park. Also head north to Whitefish and Bigfork for some close-to-Canada fun.

Shawn asks: I’ve seen the Long Island psychic communicate with dead dogs, so why can’t psychics channel dinosaurs to find out what really happened? Do insects have souls?

Fabulous. If we could get a dinosaur psychic on the case, we could break this thing wide open. Perhaps psychics can’t get a good connection because dinosaur brains were all the size of walnuts. Perhaps they can’t because dinosaurs are actually the superior species and live deep in the earth controlling our weather patterns.

On the insect note, the only ones that concern us are the bugs preserved in amber because their souls are preserved in a suspended state of limbo and someone should smash all the amber and let their souls out already.

Jay asks: What is the REAL color of orange?

Whatever it rhymes with, that is the real color of orange.

4 Responses to Ask Jana (from Montana)…jobs, speed limits, the universe.


Michael Knepprath

August 30th, 2012 at 12:17 am

We use Netflix and Hulu as well, but we have not watched that show… We’ll have to check it out! Have you seen all of Community yet? If not – hours of quality entertainment right there. I could watch any particular episode of that show 5 times in a row and not be sick of it.



August 30th, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Community is now at the top of my list!


Michael Knepprath

August 30th, 2012 at 12:25 am

PS – Did you know that the color orange is named after the fruit? Before people started referring to the color as orange (I believe around the 1100s), it was called ġeolurēad. Which sounds a lot like yellow-red. Makes that last question a bit more interesting.



August 30th, 2012 at 7:15 pm

You just blew my mind, MK. Whoa.

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