One Rocker's Diary of Life on the Road
Semisonic's Jacob Slichter chronicles his summer tour

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Aug. 16, 2001 As a founding member of the rock band Semisonic, Jacob Slichter plays drums and keyboards, writes and produces songs -- and chronicles tour life in a road diary.

Jacob Slichter
Rocker Jacob Slichter shares his road diary with his fans online.
Photo: Marina Chavez

A typical Slichter observation: "7:30 a.m. -- Asleep in my bunk on our tour bus. Wake up when bus emits series of piercing beeps as it pulls into concert venue. Find dressing room. Shower rod held in place by duct tape. So are the pipes...

"Other band and crew members emerge from the bus with cowlicks rising at angles that would demand explanations from anyone outside the rock business. Sound engineer Brad compares wherever we are unfavorably to Kansas City, his home town."

Slichter tells his diary about the "exhilaration, rapture, apocalypse, and heavenly highs" of concerts -- and about the "excruciating boredom" of between-gig bus rides, only partly relieved by ritualistic viewings of Law and Order reruns. Another boredom-fighting attempt prompts this diary admission: "Start to read book with impressive title. Get mad at self for always choosing books with impressive titles, and play stupid electronic game built into new cell phone."

Semisonic concert
Semisonic's outdoor concert in Glastonbury, England
Photo: Semisonic

Slichter grew up playing piano, cello, and drums in Champaign, Ill. He majored in African-American studies at Harvard University, where he met his future bandmate Dan Wilson. After college, Slichter moved to Minneapolis, where Wilson's and John Munson's band had just broken up; in 1992, the three formed Semisonic. Munson plays bass, while Wilson sings, plays guitar, and writes most of the band's songs.

Semisonic is best known for the hit "Closing Time" from their previous album Feeling Strangely Fine, which went platinum and and earned a Grammy nomination. The band's new album, All About Chemistry, features a track co-written and performed with music legend Carole King.

On Morning Edition, hear Slichter's account of life on the rock road.


Other Resources

Cover of All About Chemistry
Cover of All About Chemistry, the group's latest CD
Photo: Semisonic

audioListen to cuts from Semisonic's songs.
Chemistry
      Over My Head

Read more of Slichter's diary entries on    "Jake by Jake" page of the Semisonic     Web site.

Learn more about the group from    RollingStone.com articles